September 9, 2022

SP Cinema presents Mon Oncle

Day and Time
Friday Sep 9, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The cinematic vision of comedian Jacques Tati was unusual even by the adventurous standards of 1950s French filmmaking. Tati appeared in his own films as Monsieur Hulot, a bumbler outfitted with a trademark rumpled overcoat, pipe, hat, and umbrella.
Tati introduced Hulot in 1953 with the film “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.” It became an instant sensation in France, leading to the far more ambitious follow-up film “Mon Oncle” (My Uncle) in 1958.

Tati’s character is almost entirely wordless, and he seems oddly disconnected from the modern world that completely surrounds him. The inspiration is parts Buster Keaton and his own invention. No coincidence, Tati was a huge Keaton fan (and the favor was returned). And like Keaton, Tati’s ambition was his downfall. His films became so expensive to make he was able to complete only five, and ended up bankrupted.

But we have the handful, fortunately, and they are quite special, and unique in the true meaning of the word. No other filmmaker even tried to imitate Jacques Tati. Roger Ebert called him a genre of one, and that pretty well summarizes Tati’s place in filmmaking.

The sophisticated slapstick in “Mon Oncle” is in some ways an obvious throwback to the silent comedy era, but the comic and visual sensibility is all Tati. The gags are inventive, remarkably elaborate, and most of all, very funny. If you’ve never seen a Jacques Tati film this is one not to miss. In French, with subtitles (which are made almost unnecessary by the minimal dialog). (1:56)
Host, Mitch Stone
Friday September 9, 7PM
UU Church of Santa Paula
Free as always!